General · writing

A new brand of writer’s block

Recently, I discovered that I have absolutely no idea how to share my writing journey.

My husband says my posts are great. No one else has complained about them, but I’m not happy with them. For example, my monthly updates are copy, paste, replace old info with new info, repeat. I think the structure of the post is good, but I’m not happy with the content. With how limited my expression of my journey is.

The problem is, I can’t say too much about what I’m working on, because, in the past, telling too much about something I haven’t finished writing has killed those projects. I’m scared to death to lose the passion for what I’m writing, that when I sit down to share my progress, I freeze up.

Now, I know I don’t need to share my writing progress on my blog. I could just write in a journal or something that no one sees, but making it public keeps me honest. For example, if I’m in a writing slump or have been too busy or just haven’t written in awhile, because I’d rather be doing other things, I can easily ignore a my private journal. It can sit on my desk, gathering dust and be forgotten without consequence. That isn’t true when I start making public statements of my goals and progress. Doing this motivates me.

Also, I crave conversation. I can’t wait until this process becomes a dialogue. I want to have a back and forth in the comments so badly. xD I don’t only want to share what I’m doing, I want to hear how your writing is going. How what you read inspired your writing. What you’re struggling with and how you’re getting through it. Celebrate your accomplishments. I think that will be so much fun!

So, how do I do this? How do I talk about my writing progress without killing it?

I don’t know, honestly.

You know, I told myself I wasn’t going to make this post and just write a writing update post in an effort to fix this issue. Yet, here I am. Avoiding the issue by talking about it. *le sigh*

Oh, well. I’m going to post this. Get it out of my head. Then, maybe I can move on.

This is a strange kind of writer’s block.

How about you? Do you have trouble sharing about your writing? Are there certain things you leave out when you do share? Why do you leave out some things and not others? Let me know in the comments!

And take care!

Ann Marie Swaim icon

General · writing

Raising the Stakes has me like hmm…

Just had sort of an ah-ha moment listening to the the Writing Excuses podcast. For those of you not familiar with this cast, it’s a group of published writer, from different genres, discussing different aspects of the writing process. The episode I was listening to, that made me go hmm… was 12.41: Raising the Stakes.

So, this cast was all about what a writer should and shouldn’t do to raise the stakes in their novel to keep the reader engaged without wearing them out. It was all well and good. I was hearing a lot of things I had heard before, then Mary Anne, I believe (it’s very hard for me to put a name to a voice. Not to mention another author on this cast is named Mary) said this about a book called Hild by Nicola Griffiths…

“Mostly it’s very domestic. It’s about a little girl learning how to navigate her world,[…] but you can feel the looming disaster.”

This immediately made me examine my own work (specifically From Stars, Come Dragons,) because I have often worried it focuses too much on the domestic and not enough on the fantastic, at least at first. I raise the stakes for my main character, Henry, very slowly and I worry I will lose people looking for blood.

Then Mary chimes in after her and starts speaking to the plight of new authors and how they feel the need to throw everything at the reader right away to keep them engaged. And how that isn’t the best way to get the reader engaged either because, where do you go from there? How do you raise the stakes, when they’re already so high? But then, this is what most people who read fantasy expect. Or so it seems.

Not me. Not always, anyway.

I love fantasy. But my favorite fantasy books are the ones that burn the slowest. The most recent example I have of this is Cybele’s Secret by Juliette Marillier. Everything in this novel burns slowly. The romance, the plot, the magic, the character development, all of it. It’s now one of my favorite books. This is probably why I tend to write this way. Where the fantasy, and sometimes the plot, takes somewhat of a backseat to the characters and what they’re going through and how what they’re going through affects them achieving or not achieving their goals. But if this isn’t what fantasy readers expect, what do you do?

My answer is, do it anyway. Write what you love. Write the story that begs to be written, in the way it demands to be written. But be mindful of the consequences. Know you’re story will not appeal to everyone’s taste and hope it reaches the audience who will love it for what it is.

I’m happy with my writing. I love my book. I just worry, like I’m sure most writers do, how readers will react to the story that wouldn’t leave me alone.

Anyway, this probably wasn’t super coherent or sensible, but that podcast hit really close to home and I felt the need to spew my thoughts.

I Would love to know what you all think of this and how you handle keeping the reader engaged to the end. Or more to the point, how you deal with the worry of not being able to keep them engaged. And what keeps you engaged as a reader? Is all about the action?

So, yeah… Hit me up with a reply. I’d love to discuss!

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